Movie News & Reviews

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Ignore the fact that the (mostly) bad movies of August made the difference in Hollywood's assault on box-office records. Forget that you helped set the "record" by paying premium prices for 3D fare including Up, Ice Age 3D and The Final Destination. Those Buddy Holly glasses (and 3D projectors) cost a bundle, after all.

It was a good summer not because Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe made a lot of money: It was one to remember thanks to some pretty good movies, movies that will be forgotten come Oscar season.

So while the smell of sunscreen is still in our nostrils, let's recall the summer of 2009.

Breakout performances: Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker, Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover. One strutted, in a bomb-disposal suit, into fame. The other staggered.

Jumbo shrimp, the sleeper: District 9, a bug-eyed-monsters-among-us actioner with a social-commentary edge — from South Africa, no less.

Wake-up calls for well-paid stars: Brüno, Imagine That, Year One, Land of the Lost (Sasha Baron Cohen, Eddie Murphy, Jack Black, Will Ferrell).

End of an error: Torture porn dies with The Collector.

While America slept: G-Force, the talking-guinea-pigs action comedy, earned more than $100 million.

Best line from a bad movie: "Matt Lauer can suck it!" — Will Ferrell in Land of the Lost.

Best line, period: "If you miss out on life, they win." — Lisa Kudrow in Bandslam.

Best date movie, under 30: (500) Days of Summer.

Best date movie, over 30: Away We Go.

Best date movie, over 40: Julie & Julia.

Best kids' movie: Up. Yeah, it made grownups cry.

Best comeback: Sandra Bullock in The Proposal. Will it last? All About Steve will tell.

Best comeback-director: Kathryn Bigelow of The Hurt Locker. It's been a long time since Point Break, sister.

Best comeback-franchise: Star Trek. Boldly back.

Best performance: Hugh Dancy's nervous Asperger's-syndrome turn in Adam.

Best impersonation: Meryl Streep, the best Julia Child since Dan Aykroyd, in Julie & Julia.

Second best impersonation: Leslie Mann ripping (Eric Bana) in his Oz accent in Funny People.

Best picture: The Hurt Locker.

Best documentary: The Cove. An Oscar contender?

Best movies you didn't see: The Cove, The Hurt Locker.

What were you thinking? The Ugly Truth. It's ugly, all right. But you made it a hit.

Overrated: Inglourious Basterds, The Hangover. Get swept up in the Tarantino hype if you want. Not me. And amusing as it occasionally was, The Hangover was sophomoric and unsurprising. Heather Graham as a stripper? When haven't we seen that?

Worst bling: The hip-hop robots of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Worst picture: I Love You Beth Cooper is even worse than Transformers: ROTF.

Underrated: The Time Traveler's Wife, Bandslam.

Worst excuse: "The Twitter effect." No, it didn't kill Brüno. An over-exposed and not-that-funny character killed Brüno. Umlauts killed Brüno.